If summer were a person, she would be jealous of fall’s squash selection. Say good-bye to delicate salads, and let’s get hearty instead!
So, the other day when it wasn’t like 200 degrees out, I thought, “Cool – a little break in the weather.” But, then, the next day it wasn’t 200 hundred degrees either, and then the next, and the next (you get the picture, heck, you all lived it with me). Summer is over. And I thought it ended rather abruptly. Did you?
Checking out the local farmer’s markets has confirmed this little weather fact for me this week. The season has changed in the air, and it’s making its way into our kitchens, too.
Looking around the market, I see squash galore! Now, I grew up eating squash two ways. Boiled until it was basically mushy, or in a casserole smothered in cheese. Let me just suffice to say that I’ve never been a big fan of the stuff.
But I decided to do some digging around and have dug up and worked on some cool recipes to share with you.
First up – Roasted and Marinated Squash vertop Pak Choi and Rice. Pak choi (also known as bok choy) is another delicious item to pick up at the market – These greens are packed with nutrients and even my kids eat them when cooked just right (I didn’t say that they LOVE TO EAT THEM, but they get it down). Pick out whatever squash looks interesting to you this week, and try it this way. Let me know what you think.
Okay, I am a total sucker for anything with goat cheese. Plus, I cave for all things sausage. This recipe has them BOTH – plus apples, another fall favorite! Baked Squash with Sausage, Apple and Goat cheese is a fabulous crisp-air dish. This one is definitely best with acorn or butternut squash. Also, this one will travel well, say, if you’re making a meal for a new neighbor or friend with a baby?!
How yummy does this sound? Baked Penne Rigati with Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage, Pecans, with Balsamella sauce with Cheese. Oh. My. Goodness. How rich can we get? This dish will work very well with Gorgonzola, but any soft blue will do. Prosciutto and walnuts would be other good substitutes. Think of this as “macaroni and cheese” and serve it with pancetta-wrapped pork loin or veal chops. *When you make this, please call me and invite me for dinner.
I don’t know about you, but the second that it turns cool, I’m ready to eat (and make) soup. I came across this recipe for Squash and Onion Soup with Almonds that sounds awesome. It’s still kind of a lighter soup, which I like for this time of year. We’ll save the heavies for the winter.
Okay, my fellow food lovers – head out to the market this weekend, and dish up some squash in some new kinds of ways!
Roasted and Marinated Squash overtop Pak Choi and Rice
- 1 winter squash (can be a cheese, sunshine, acorn, butternut, etc.)
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 bunch pac choi (aka bok choy)
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup tamari
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon almond butter or peanut butter (I use natural)
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- Hot sauce to taste (I use habenero)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all the ingredients to make the marinade. It’s best if it sits for at least an hour before using, but not necessary. The marinade makes a great dressing for salads or to drizzle overtop your dish, so don’t worry if there is
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and deseed. Place in bowl and rub the dressing on
the inside of the squash.
Bake in the oven until the squash can be
easily poked through with a fork, but is not overly mushy. While it’s baking, continue to marinate the squash every 10-15 minutes using a spoon to apply the sauce over top. While the squash is baking, make
your brown rice and set aside.
Bring out the pak choi and wash. I cook my pak choi down
like collards: cut the leafy greens into bite sized pieces and pour some olive oil into a pan (I typically use cast iron). Sauté the chopped onion and garlic and add the pak choi, apple cider, water, salt, and pepper. Cover and reduce the heat. They should have a collard look when finished.
When the squash and greens are done, combine and serve. I typically fill a bowl with brown rice and top with the
marinated squash and pak choi. At the end, I drizzle more of the marinade dressing on top.
Serve and enjoy!
Baked Squash with Sausage, Apple, and Goat Cheese
- 1 medium butternut or 2 medium acorn squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
- 8 ounces bulk sausage
- 1 medium onion*, diced
- 1 medium apple*, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 ounces goat cheese
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Cut the squash in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Peel the squash and cut into 1-inch
cubes. Set aside.
Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into clumps with the
side of a spoon. Leave it in fairly large crumbles. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon
and drain it thoroughly on paper towels.
Discard all but 1 Tablespoon of the sausage drippings from the skillet. Add the onion and apple
and cook, stirring frequently, until both are completely soft, about 8 minutes. Return the
sausage to the pan. Add the squash cubes, sage, and nutmeg, and mix well. Season to taste with
salt and pepper.
Transfer the squash mixture to a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Crumble the goat cheese over the top.
Bake in the center of the oven until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.
Baked Penne Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage, Pecans, and a Balsamella Sauce with Cheese
- 3 medium sized butternut squash
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 1 small bunch fresh sage – 4 leaves chiffonade cut, the rest for garnish
- 4 ounces pecans – lightly toasted
- 12 whole garlic cloves
- 2 garlic cloves smashed and minced
- 1 1/4 quart whole milk
- 4 ounces white roux (3 ounces unsalted butter, 3 ounces all-purpose flour) (directions below)
- 1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
- 8 ounces cheese, grated (your choice here)
- 1 ounce dry white wine
- 1 ounce olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Rub with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place cut side down in a heavy baking dish with a clove or two of garlic in each seed cavity. Bake covered for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Remove and cool.
Boil pasta as per directions in plenty of salted water, strain when al dente and immediately rinse under cold water.
Score the flesh side of the squash into 1 inch squares and scoop out the diced flesh with a spoon.
Prepare the sauce by making the white roux. Melt 3 ounces of unsalted butter over moderate heat and add the diced onion. Gently simmer for 2 minutes and add the chopped garlic, simmer for 1 more minute. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly for one minute, remove from heat and reserve.
Scald the milk, but do not boil, and pour it over the roux. Bring to a boil, stirring attentively so as to not burn. Bring down to a gentle simmer and slowly add the cheese. Add the wine and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl toss the pasta, squash, pecans, sage, and as much sauce as you feel comfortable with. Pour into a buttered deep casserole dish, top with more cheese, and bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Garnish with sage.
Summer Squash and Onion Soup with Almonds
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 4 medium sweet onions (such as Vidalia), sliced thinly (about 4 cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
- 2 ounces orzo or other tiny pasta
- 2 pounds mixed summer squashes (about 6 cups), in 1/2-inch dice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (preferably lemon thyme)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger.
Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and golden, about 20 minutes.
Add the sherry and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil, then add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes. Add the squash and cook just until tender, about 4 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the thyme.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese and serve immediately.
Serves six to eight.